I graduate in May 2009. Most people are petrified of their graduation date, but I am excited. There were 2-3 days of my life that I pondered staying in college an extra year to minor in a language or linguistics - but... I could spend that year much more wisely, say, in a country of the language! So the 5 yr college plan was quicky scrapped and I cannot wait until I graduate. And I'm not even 100% sure what will happen, but here is what I want to do, and what I am doing to try to make it all happen.
Here are my directions (all dependent on being accepted)
1. Assistantship program in France
The French government has a program where they place Americans in various schools throughout France so their students have exposure to native speakers. Placement can be elementary schools to middle schools to high schools to even universities! However, the application is not yet out. But looking at the old one, I'm already a bit worried. Just a bit. I need 2 teacher appraisals - not letters of recommendations, but they have to rate my ability to read/write French, and write a small comment about my character. It won't take more than 10 min to fill out, it's very simple. However... I don't know where my French teacher is... And I need two people. I have one covered with my old Chinese professor, who is fluent in French (is it luck or fate? more on coincidences later!), but I need to find another person with university credentials to evaluate me.
Aaaand that is part b of my worries, my level! I've only taken 1 semester of French. I'm shaky on speaking, but I am trying hard to improve. Luckily, (or fate?) I found two francophones today to practice with! But that is another story.
However, these are small worries because I am confident that in my responses to their essay questions, my competance in the language will show through. But more importantly, I know my enthusiasm will be very strong in my answers! There is nothing I want more to do right now than to do this program, it feels so right in all aspects: skill, interests, timing, etc. I just hope that my love for France and desire to share my culture/language will be connect to whomever reads my application. Wish me luck!
2. Hess teaching job in Taiwan
This program I am hesitant about my chances because I know chinese people prefer white people and white faces when it comes to learning English. Even though I have the american culture... i am still chinese with a chinese face. So I will apply, but I am not so sure they will want me. And sadly, as much as I love Taiwan (oh the bread!!), I want to nail down my fluency in French. Nail it! France also has a stronger pull at the moment because of my want to continue the friendships I started while over there. France's #2 pull is that it's next to Switzerland. Where my cousins live. I could be 4 hours away from my cousins...! I want to get to know them better as well. However, Taiwan has the all powerful motherland card... and the grandma card, as well as the other set of cousins card. I do love love love Taiwan! I don't want to have to make this decision.
3. Grad school for linguistics (much much later, 3 year break at least after undergrad)
I knew I was never going to grad school for art because people who get MFAs in art are dead serious about being artists. And I never was, and never will be. However, I love studying languages and patterns in languages... especially sociolinguistics. People, languages, and cultures. They are all so connected, and I would love to pursue a study in them in depth. So if and when I ever go to grad school, it will be in linguistics. And unlike my undergrad where it was "i don't know what I want to do but i like art so i might as well major in art" it will be more like "i know i love languages and i know i want to learn more about it and i know i want to immerse myself into it." See what a difference those two statements have? It's a very refreshing feeling to finally know what I want to pursue. However, i would not change a single decision I've made over the past 4 years! It's all about trying different things to figure out what works best for me!
And that, ta-da, are my far far far faaaaaaaaar future plans! I cannot wait until 1 year from this post to see where I am!